What a delightful time to be a Carlovian, ‘The Scallion Eaters’ are thriving on all sporting fronts behind an invigorating movement beating through the county known as ‘#carlowrising’.
This weekend both Carlow hurling and football teams’ have a crucial opportunity to all but secure their divisional status in respective codes. But how did this welcoming evolution come to pass after such a lengthy spell without success?
Momentum has slowly gathered throughout all sports’ with some inspiring individual success stories such as Sean O’Brien’s remarkable rugby career on the international stage. Horse trainer Willie Mullins has ruled the roost at Cheltenham for the best part of a decade. In soccer, current FA Cup top scorer Pádraig Amond has inspired with his exploits across the pond, even Carlow’s Rose of Tralee contestant Shauna Ray Lacey, was making waves at last year’s festival.
Knock on Effect
An accumulation of achievements over the past few years has collectively inspired and instilled a sense of belief within the people of Carlow helping them to flourish on the sporting scene.
Perhaps the most exciting facet of Carlow’s rising is the impressive run of form of both intercounty teams. There is no secret recipe or sudden emergence of superior players that has caused this major shift, most of the players experienced the less rewarding seasons of old, but have managed to rewaken ambitious aspirations while galvanizing the imagination of the Carlow GAA community and beyond.
Take no credit away from Turlough O’Brien, Colm Bonnar and their management staff who have greatly elevated performance levels and brought an enormous amount of organisation to the fold. During their tenure, Carlow’s reputation has been transformed from a so called ‘weaker county’ to a competitive dual county respected by opponents.
Looking at Sunday’s crunch games, Carlow can take encouragement from recent meetings with their opposition. Earlier in the season, the footballers’ defeated Offaly with a good performance in the O’Byrne Cup albeit by a narrow margin, and the hurlers’ managed a ten point victory over Laois in their last encounter in the 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup.
Gone are the days when Carlovians had to pray to St. Anthony for a win in the GAA, hopefully we get the rub of the green on Sunday and long may Carlow rise!
Champ Selection: 7/2 Double – 1Pt Win
(Carlow Footballers 6/5, Carlow Hurlers 11/10)
By Ciarán Cunningham, 22/02/2019